It’s been one week since I volunteered at the 3rd Annual Skid Row Carnival of Love. I spent the day filled with joy and tears. I was happy to help but seeing people living on the edge was truly heartbreaking.
As a personal guide, I met Tony. A thoughtful young man who was more concerned about picking up clothing donations for his girlfriend than for himself. After filling up four bags of clothes, Tony stopped to get his feet washed, signed up for health insurance and saw a doctor for the first time in months (just one of many essential services offered). Afterwards, as Tony enjoyed a barbecued meal, we sat down and talked about life. Seeing his bright smile throughout the day warmed my heart.
Tony getting the VIP treatment.
I was also reminded of my own struggles. I am fortunate enough to have an apartment, food, friends and a family that supports me. However without that support, I wouldn’t be able to afford the high cost of living. Since relocating to Los Angeles, it’s been hard to find work. I have a college education and a solid resume and but am not being called for interviews. Which makes me wonder how are people living in tents supposed to get ahead? I don’t have the answer. But I do know, last Saturday, a beacon of light shined down on a community in much need.
Extra special thanks to Jane The Virgin star, Justin Baldoni and his team at Wayfarer Entertainment (along with their sponsors) for putting on such an incredible event! As people danced in the street with smiles, Tony looked at me and said “I wish everyday could be like this.” I couldn’t agree more. 🙂
As a young gay child, I didn’t feel like the other boys. I was sad. When I was in eighth grade, I remember being depressed and worried that I would disappoint my father by getting a bad report card. I feared failing and my father’s wrath if I did not excel.
One day before school, I turned on MTV and they debuted the video for Wilson Phillips inspirational “Hold On”. Wilson Phillips comprised of music royalty….Carnie Wilson, Wendy Wilson, and Chynna Phillips, the daughters of Brian Wilson of The Beach Boys and of John and Michelle Phillips of The Mamas & the Papas.
The video was shot in the mountains and Venice Beach, providing a beautiful backdrop for the quintessential California girls.
From Right to Left: Carnie, Chynna and sister Wendy
Always the dreamer, the “Hold On” video gave me the willpower to keep hoping that everything would be ok. I was captivated by the beauty of their lyrics and celestial images. I wanted to escape to the mountains as well. I set a goal to one day move to California – it only took me about 25 years but I recently left a well paying job in New York City to follow my heart! So here I am pursuing my dreams of being a writer and actor! It’s scary and I have no idea what lays ahead but I am still “Holding On”.
Thanks to the power of social media, I met Carnie Wilson via Twitter about two years ago. Carnie has inspired me and countless fans around the world with her infectious sense of humor and brutal honesty concerning her struggles with weight and sobriety. What an honor that she agreed to an interview!
Carnie, thank you so much for taking the time. Its crazy that we met on Twitter. I love that you are so active on social media, what do like about it? What don’t you like?
No problem! I like social media most of the time. I really enjoy being able to interact with people and fans. I am mostly enlightened and appreciate the more supportive and humorous postings and tweets. I don’t do Facebook as of right now – but maybe in the future. It’s really cool to maybe give people who are needing little nudges of encouragement kind responses that can be with a simple heart emoji!
Naturally, I hate negative comments and find it hard not to do so myself. There really isn’t any need for it. It takes a lot for me to not respond in a vulgar way sometimes. I have a potty mouth and just wanna go off. But I’ll stoop to their level if I do!!!! People are bored and unhappy…. those are the big losers who just like to bully others and put people down. Their lives must SUCK.
You always post a song for the day and a song for the night, how do you come up with your selections?
SFTD and SFTN is like a necessity for me now! Funny, people wait for it now too. I love this because all of this is a love for music. I have a very wide range of taste when it comes to music. I love the B52’s to Sade. So, usually I go with more up-tempo for the day and more mellow for PM. It can be a beat or guitar riff I’m hearing in my head. Or maybe it’s a lyric I’m being reminded of just watching my kids play or walking down the street. But I have music in my head at all times and it can feel kinda crazy because I can’t remember if I’ve tweeted it before. It’s been like two years since I’ve started this…I know I’m on repeat (laughs out loud)!
What artist do you connect with most and why?
I am a huge fan of Yacht Rock, mellow 70’s, disco, and R& B. On any given day, you’ll hear my Pandora on The Carpenters, Steely Dan, ELO, Seal, Backstreet, Annie Lennox, Toto, Little River Band stations. I love it all. My favorite singers are Babs, Ann Wilson, Annie Lennox, Patti LaBelle, Karen Carpenter, Stevie Nicks, Sade, Luther Vandross, Steve Perry, Frank Sinatra, Michael McDonald and Seal among others I forgot! All their voices make me crazy with emotion and I just try to sing along and thank God for their gifts.
What do you think of the pop stars of today?
Pop stars today… I like Gwen Stefani, Adele, Meghan Trainor, Ed Sheeran, Coldplay, Sara Bareilles…. Honestly…. other than Meghan Trainor ….the younger talent right now is disposable to me. Enough said.
If Wilson Phillips were to debut in 2015, how do you think they would be received?
If Wilson Phillips were to debut right now… I think we’d have pretty good success. The positive messages and harmony is coming back!! At least I’d hope for this!!
You sing, act, host talk shows, do voice-overs and write. What is your dream gig?
I wear many career hats, but my dream is having my own cooking show and opening a cafe or bakery. The two could go hand in hand, you never know. Anything that has to do with cooking and baking would be a life-long dream. It will happen. Nothing fancy here. I’m self-taught and just love food and watching people eat. Of course, I’m dramatic and a spaz so it’ll be wacky and over-the-top. That’s something in my soul. Another is to be playing a relative of Melissa McCarthy’s in a movie -or best friends!
You have been public about your successes and struggles when it comes to your health. Why has it been important for you to be so honest?
I have to be honest! It’s part of my recovery in sobriety. It’s part of being a good person. It just feels better to be open about something rather than holding it inside. Someone else, younger or older, is struggling through the same thing. We all need each other. I am not perfect. Some people expect perfection from celebrities. That’s fucking nuts. We have highs and lows. We go up and down… in my case it is weight! (laughing). I need to remain teachable, too. That helps me with humility and being somewhat humble. I’m not humble by nature, so this teaches me to shut up and listen sometimes.
As a mother of two young girls, what is the most important thing you want them to learn from you?
I want my girls to learn from me is honesty and compassion. They have huge hearts and my husband Rob and I could not be more proud of who they are already becoming. Also, I try to teach them that they will make mistakes and so will others. That’s a lesson about forgiveness…. a challenging but critical one.
Besides being an artist, what do you think your mission is in life?
My mission in life is to raise my daughters and also to just be an inspiration to others no matter what I’m going through in my life. I love people and appreciate them. Helping others is extremely fulfilling.
Carnie with family. Lola (left), Luci (middle) and Rob (right).
What makes you “Hold On” for one more day?
My strength comes from my children these days. My strength also comes from passion. When you lose passion for anything, you lose zest and inspiration. Passion can be about anything. As I get older, I realize that life is short…. until the next one… so take advantage of time… don’t dwell, live in the now, see the good, have a lot of orgasms, don’t let others control you and GO FOR WHAT YOU WANT. XOXOXOXOXO.